Skip to main content

The diary scheduled for today is, ah, unfortunately not available, so once more we’ll have an open forum.  Never mind, we’re going to have a good time anyway.

Bored with fasting, I’ve decided to offer strong hot coffee with thick cream and both white and brown sugar, and homemade cinnamon rolls, fresh from the oven, glazed with icing and chopped pecans. Those are responsible for the delicious aromas that are making their way from your nose to your brain at this very moment. Help yourselves, there’s plenty!

And now for the burning question of the day:  which fictional characters are so real you just can’t believe you’re not going to bump into them at the airport one of these days?

To me, the “realest” of the real is red-haired Maeve Rhuad, who, alas, was born in the year 0, which would make her more than two thousand years old at this writing. However, she exists in a parallel universe that’s able to transcend time, so her voice is both contemporary and fresh. I fell in love with this character when I first read Daughter of the Shining Isles (the title was subsequently changed to Magdalen Rising).  Engaging as she was in the first book, Maeve swept me away even more in the sequel, The Passion of Mary Magdalen (the working title of which was Holy Whore). I swear, when I read that one, for a nanosecond I thought, “I’d better get over to Palestine so I can start partying with this crew…”  Reality intervened immediately, of course, but I did--and do--want to party-hearty with Maeve and the weird collection of people she gathered around her.

Cluny Brown is the next character who seems so real I keep expecting to bump into her at the airline ticket counter. Like actual people, Cluny is not “all of a piece”—she’s capable of appreciating poetry, but is not an intellectual, either by upbringing or education. She does completely unexpected things, such as putting on her best clothes to fix a gentleman’s sink on a Sunday afternoon. She likes dogs but resists the suggestion that she make a career of looking after them. Finally she does the only thing a girl who “doesn’t know her place” can do in the year 1938:  she emigrates to America, where “one’s place” doesn’t matter so much.

Frances Wingate, the protagonist of Margaret Drabble’s The Realms of Gold, is the third character I desperately wish were a real person. When the book opens she’s sitting on a platform, listening to the chair of the society “introducing” her to the audience. As she listens, her tongue explores her back teeth a little too energetically and dislodges a filling—what a bore, now she’ll have to seek out a dentist in this foreign town. Then she thinks about how many drinks she’s had in her hotel room that evening and how many more she’ll have when she returns to her hotel room after the lecture—too awful to become a real alcoholic, always having to make these little self-deceiving calculations—have I had one too many, is it time to stop?  As the chair winds up his speech with a rhetorical flourish about her distinguished career, she thinks, “I am a vain and self-satisfied woman. I stole all this from nature and got it for myself.”

Frances is in fact an archaeologist whose specialty is Phoenician culture. She leads a fascinating life with four children who manage quite capably when she is away (“boiling themselves eggs, making themselves cups of tea, doing their homework”), a lover who longs to get back together with her, and a young cousin who discovers, after meeting Frances, that there’s more to life than being a bored housewife under the thumb of an oppressive husband.

Well, now you know mine—which characters do YOU wish were real?  Are there fictional characters you wish would move next door, you like them so much? Please tell us about it!  Here’s some more coffee…take the floor!

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 05:00:21 AM PDT

  •  Holden Caulfield (Catcher in the Rye) seems (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa, aravir, RiveroftheWest

    fairly realistic and believable to me.

    Also First Sergeant Milt Warden (From Here to Eternity) seems pretty believable to me.

    Good thread. Nice break from all the Terror Porn.

  •  V.I. Warshawski , Tamara Hayle (4+ / 0-)

    two PI's  from the hood

    It's not a fake orgasm; it's a real yawn.

    by sayitaintso on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 05:13:49 AM PDT

  •  Atticus Finch. I wish every small (7+ / 0-)

    town had aguy like that!

  •  Mma Ramotswe. (5+ / 0-)

    I am scampering off to an education conference in a few minutes, but I had to stop for a cinnamon roll (yum!) and an opinion before going out the door.

    I know the books are completely cheesy, but a friend loaned them to me after the dust settled following my mother's last illness and death.  They were the first recreational reading I did after that emotionally draining time.  I so appreciated the gentle common sense and comforting "everyday-ness" of these characters.  

    I would still love to sit down with Precious Ramotswe at her Number 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, have a cup of red bush tea, and catch up on all the local news.  She helped me get better after a very difficult time.  She reminded me to focus on the good in people and the good in Life, instead of getting trapped in negativity.

    My circumstances obviously added a lot of significance to her in my mind.  But like a good cup of tea...she was just what I needed at that time.      

    Metaphors be with you.

    by koosah on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 05:28:34 AM PDT

    •  What a lovely comment, koosah! (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koosah, aravir, citylights, RiveroftheWest

      Yes, Precious is one of the most enjoyable fictional characters around.  And I so identify with you re this:

      She helped me get better after a very difficult time.  She reminded me to focus on the good in people and the good in Life, instead of getting trapped in negativity.
      That is one of the best things about fiction--the fact that it can take you away from your present reality and remind you, as you said, to focus on the good in people. After my own mother's death five years ago I read my way through every one of Anne Weale's books.  They were formulaic, of course, but the different backgrounds did divert me from the emotional pain I was feeling.  Glad to hear Precious Ramotswe helped you.

      Thanks for coming by--it's always good to see you!

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 05:35:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've never read those. (5+ / 0-)

      I've been meaning to, since they've been popular long enough that they're probably reasonably good books.  Unless they're something I've been reading already, I don't read bestsellers - I hope this is my only snobbish characteristic. But I digress.

      She reminded me to focus on the good in people and the good in Life, instead of getting trapped in negativity.
      Even the optimists among us can use that reminder sometimes.  If only for that reason, I'm going to have to read those books.

      Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

      by loggersbrat on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 06:28:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  loggersbrat, you're in for a treat (6+ / 0-)

        Do start with the first one and read them straight through.  Although each book is complete in itself, the cumulative effect makes everything even funnier. :)  The incident with the car in the first book made my hair curl in fright.

        My late mother adored Precious and took to drinking red bush tea, even though she preferred coffee, just because Mma Ramotswe liked it.

        "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

        by Diana in NoVa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 06:39:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lily Bart. (5+ / 0-)

    Once you read 'The House of Mirth', Miss Bart never leaves you.

    "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

    by escapee on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 05:36:27 AM PDT

  •  Alaska, from "Looking For Alaska" (3+ / 0-)

    is incredible. A tie with her is Momo from the eponymous book by Michael Ende.

    You said the air was singing / it's calling you, you don't believe / These things you've never seen / Never heard, never dreamed.

    by CayceP on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 05:49:00 AM PDT

  •  The cops from the Spenser books (5+ / 0-)

    but they're kind of busy today.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 05:51:24 AM PDT

  •  There is a long list for me... (6+ / 0-)

    Off the top of my head:

    Treebeard, from Lord of the Rings.  I know, this seems a bit odd.  But I have often, while wandering through woods, felt a spirit of intelligence surrounding me.  If ents don't exist, they should.

    Njal from Njal's Saga.  It wouldn't surprise me if Njal actually had existed.

    George Wickham from Pride and Prejudice.  I've known a few Wickhams in my day.

    Anne Elliot from Persuasion.  I feel like a male version of Anne sometimes.

    Florentino Ariza from Love in the Time of Cholera.  I still love every woman I ever loved, and it does not spoil anything.

    Winston Smith in Nineteen Eighty-Four.  Too many of us have ephemeral convictions which can be distorted by fear.

    Septimus Warren Smith in Mrs. Dalloway.  PTSD before the term even existed.

    Ancora Impara--Michelangelo

    by aravir on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 05:53:50 AM PDT

  •  There are two characters I wish were real. (4+ / 0-)

    Delia Peabody from the In Death series, and Corinna Chapman, who has her own series.

    Peabody is smart, doing what she loves for a living, willing to learn, has a good sense of her own style, and loves people in general.

    Corinna Chapman is doing what she loves for her living, taking the good with the bad, and finding out that having to get up at 4 AM is about the worst she's got going.  The mysteries are not necessarily that light hearted, but the good guys win and have a mostly good time doing it.

    Strength and dignity are her clothing, she rejoices at the days to come; She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the law of kindness is on her tongue.

    by loggersbrat on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 06:35:12 AM PDT

    •  That's the kind of book I like myself, loggersbrat (4+ / 0-)
      The mysteries are not necessarily that light hearted, but the good guys win and have a mostly good time doing it.
      Emphatically, yes.  In fact there was a time when I read only mysteries, because I knew there would be (1) a plot, and (2) the good guys would win.

      I won't continue reading novels where the protagonist is half-mad on page 1 and descends into complete madness by page 837.  Too depressing.

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 06:42:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm also a big fan of Peabody. I smile everytime (3+ / 0-)

      I think of her trying to find her style now that she's a detective and isn't restricted by a uniform. Can't you just see her joy in wearing the pink cowboy boots Roarke and Eve (okay, Roarke, as we know how much Eve hates to shop) bought for her? I love Delia's loyalty and her sense of humor.  It's been fun watching the relationships develop between Peabody and Dallas and between She-body and MacNab. Hubba-hubba (eyebrows wiggle suggestively).

      I know I'd recognize Mavis from a block away; and I would love to hold sweet Bella, and have her "take a bow," just like mommy taught her.

      I'd like to have a party and invite Baxter, Trueheart, Feeney, Nadine, Mira and her absent-minded husband,Trina, Charles and Louise, Morris, Eve's boss, the Commander, Chief Tibble, and Summerset. Nixie and her new family. In fact, bring the whole crew. Eve and Roarke, of course, goes without saying.

      Oh, I can't forget William, aka Crack. I like how he teases Dallas about being a "skinny white girl." And I felt so bad when he lost his sister.  When Eve and Roarke plant a tree for her I thought that was a fantastic tribute.

      I would absolutely recognize any of them. Well, with the exception of one. I don't know who's the candy thief.  Do you?  I think there are several suspects. :-)

      I think it's partly because we learn about the characters over the years that we've been reading the In Death series, and partly the author's skill in writing believable characters, but I feel like I could easily talk with several of the characters. I think we'd get to be very good friends.

      What a great diary topic, Diana in NoVa, especially for today.  I've been up all night following the latest out of Boston, and it is quite frankly a relief to take a break. What could be better than thinking about some of my favorite books and eating delicious cinnamon rolls? Thank you very much.

      "In politics stupidity is not a handicap." Napoleon Bonaparte

      by citylights on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 08:48:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Zachary Martin Glass (Zooey) (4+ / 0-)

    I think he'd be a blogger.

    And I agree with the comment upthread that this is a great break from all the crisis info.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:11:20 AM PDT

    •  Thank you, a gilas girl! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      aravir, RiveroftheWest

      Ah...Franny and Zooey! Everyone was reading that my freshman year at college, after they'd finished reading The Alexandria Quartet. Salinger had a gift for writing memorable characters, didn't he?  I've never forgotten "For Esme with Love and Squalor."

      Thanks for coming by!  There's still a couple of cinnamon rolls left.  :)

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 07:16:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The Airport is Crowded with Them! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976, RiveroftheWest, ferg

    What a grand idea.  I can imagine getting on a plane with all my favorite characters for a party flight to Never-Never Land.  While certain sections of the fuselage would be jolly, others would exist under a black pall.  Kind of like another allegorical Ship of Fools.

    As for mentioning names, I'll restrict myself to those recently read.  In no particular order. . .

    Gaius Russo
    and his slave girlfriend, Tulla
    Mdme Bovary
    Harold Fry of the Unlikely Pilgrimage of same
    Everyone in Kent Haruf's Plainsong
    Jane Han, the Korean-American photojournalist from Long for This World by Sonya Chung
    The Wolf Hall Thomas Cromwell
    Becky Sharp -- seats and seats of Becky Sharps!
    Shed, or Duivichi-un-Dua, a half-breed berdache who makes his living at the Indian Head Hotel in the little turn-of-the-20th-century town of Excellent, Idaho
    The ladies with whom spent an enchanted April in the lake district of northern Italy
    Baudolino in the hopes of endless Decameron-like days together
    Amaranthe Lokdon, steampunk heroine in the Lindsay Buroker Emperor's Edge fantasy series
    Eli Sisters but not his brother, Charlie Sisters
    All three men in the boat (and the dog, too)
    Duplicitous Victor Maskell (fictional alter-ego of actual Russian spy Anthony Blunt
    Mma Ramotswe and everyone she loves in Gaborone
    Cory Jay Mackenson, child citizen of Zephyr, Alabama and Boy's Life by Robert R. McCammon
    Richard Ford's cerebral and self-absorbed Frank Bascombe
    Any character Robert Goolrick chooses to create
    Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin because I cannot choose between the lesser of two weevils

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 08:18:02 AM PDT

  •  Raylan Givens... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa

    whenever I see a story about federal marshalls I think of him and his boss, Art.

    "I'm six-four...it takes a lot to get over my top." --Alan Grayson

    by chicating on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 08:27:12 AM PDT

  •  I'm gonna go all meta on this one (5+ / 0-)

    (and ask for forgiveness in advance). I raised myself on books, and until I was in my late teens didn't get to know any real people very well (yes, including my parents). What it left me with was the feeling that the world was populated with with people who thought, who'd worked out their theories of ethics consciously, who had good reasons, or at least real reasons, for almost everything they did, and who spoke, mostly in complete and coherent sentences. Except I couldn't find any, and I kept wondering where they were all hiding and why they didn't want to talk to me.

    I have no problem expecting most of the characters I've encountered to appear in real life - it's real human beings I tend to do a double-take about, even after enough time that I could/should have learned better.

    And why am I hitting you with this? Because I just realized it while I was reading this diary, and wanted to tell somebody. Thanks for the trigger, whatever it was, that brought this up. Gonna have to think about it a lot, but I think it will be very worth it.

    At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

    by serendipityisabitch on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 08:31:03 AM PDT

    •  You know, you may not be alone in your feelings (2+ / 0-)

      serendipity.  There was a time when I too looked on real life as an annoying interruption to reading.  (This was before I grew up and went to work for a living.)  But yes, I can easily see how fictional characters can become more "real" than the everyday people we see and talk to.

      However, that said, the members of the Readers and Book Lovers group are as fascinating and diverse a collection of people as you'll ever meet!  What a shame we can't all get together in real life--wouldn't that be fun?

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:24:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not that fictional characters seen more real, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Diana in NoVa, RiveroftheWest

        it's that I still tend to think of them as more "normal" than real people. Which tends to skew my judgment about people in some rather odd ways. I've met several thousand people, and gotten to know some small portion of those pretty well, but I've 'met' tens of thousands of characters in books, and gotten to know at least a thousand very well, so things are a bit out of proportion.

        That said, I expect to keep dropping by Readers and Book Lovers on a regular basis, and I look forward to extending my acquaintance here.

        At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

        by serendipityisabitch on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 11:10:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Lermontov's "A Hero of Our Time" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Diana in NoVa

    Despite being written nearly two centuries ago, this novel seems very modern in its portrayal of alienation.

    The first section, "Bela", may shed light on the Chechen connection to this week's horrific events.  To this day, Lermontov is held in high regard among Russian writers, and this tale has probably had an enormous influence on Russian attitudes (or stereotypes) concerning the peoples of the Caucasus, including the Chechens.

  •  Characters that seem real (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest, Diana in NoVa

    would, to me, be unnecessary in literature.  I want characters who are believable, but not real.  Most of the real people I know would be very boring in a book.

    That said, there are a number of characters I would have no trouble seeing as real, just with more interesting stories.

    "Biff" (Levi bar Alphaeus) from Christopher Moore's book "Lamb" behaves as a real person would, and I know a number of people like him.  The same can be said of most of Chris' characters.

    Tanya Huff's Victoria Nelson survives (mostly) some extreme stuff, which puts her above the average, but is portrayed in a way that makes her not just credible, but someone it would be interesting to meet.

    Karrin Murphy from Jim Butcher's harry Dresden books is played very well, with the strengths and frailties that make a person, and is the kind of person I have run across, except for the whole harry Dresden thing.

    But those people are not what I read for.

    Gimme Sethra Lavode, or Lord Vetinari, or even Lazarus Long.  Or even Solomon Short, for that matter.

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 09:14:13 AM PDT

    •  Thanks, trumpeter! An interesting point of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      view.  I think most fictional characters are (with some notable exceptions) believable--at least, I find them so, but most, for me, exist only in their stories.

      "Real" to me means they're so engaging you wish they actually existed, so you could roar at jokes over dinner or together take a long, long walk that ends at some enchanting view.

      Thanks for stopping by--come again!

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:29:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh, let me see... (4+ / 0-)

    Archie Goodwin, from the Nero Wolfe mysteries, by Rex Stout

    Tocohl Susomo, Maggie, and Om im, who all three live in Hellspark, by Janet Kagan

    Jennifer Gluckstein, from Tamsin, by Peter Beagle

    The phouka, Eddi, Carla, who live in War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull

    “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”~Thomas Mann

    by Rolanni on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 09:16:04 AM PDT

    •  Hi, Rolanni, nice to have some new ones joining (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest

      the party!  Trumpeter and Limelite also mentioned a host of people who seem real. This plane is getting crowded!  :)

      Tamsin is an old Celtic legend, if I'm not mistaken. I will have to Google the book to find out why Peter Beagle named it that.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

      by Diana in NoVa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:32:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's nice to have (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, Diana in NoVa

        a place to talk about books, which I don't often get a chance to do.  

        Beagle's Tamsin is wonderful -- I can't praise it enough; Jenny's narrative voice is spot-on, and there are cats and ghosts and True Love, and The Wild Hunt, too!

        “A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”~Thomas Mann

        by Rolanni on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:43:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Hurrah! Another Kagan fan! n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rolanni, RiveroftheWest

      At least half the future I've been expecting hasn't gotten here yet. Sigh.... (Yes, there's gender bias in my name; no, I wasn't thinking about it when I signed up. My apologies.)

      by serendipityisabitch on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 12:08:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Jem Finch. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa, RiveroftheWest

    "We’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people." - Rep. Paul Ryan

    by Khun David on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 10:06:40 AM PDT

  •  Aunt Betsey in Copperfield (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Diana in NoVa, RiveroftheWest

    is realer than most actual human beings.

  •  Yes, we mustn't forget Aunt Betsy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RiveroftheWest

    Thanks for the reminder, archer070!

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 04:43:55 PM PDT

  •  I'll go for an unglamorous spy with sore feet. (0+ / 0-)

    That might be Le Carre's George Smiley or, even better, Freemantle's Charlie Muffin who always wore Hush Puppies because of his sore feet. Of course, the ultimate unglamorous spy was probably Furst's S. Kolb who heroically criss-crossed occupied Europe all through World War II tediously fighting boredom. I'm sure he existed, and unlike S. Kolb, he (or she) probably had a real first name.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site